Coronavirus Response FAQs

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About Coronavirus 

Where can I get the most up-to-date COVID - 19 information from the Center for Disease Control?

The link here is CDC’s current Myth/Fact page. Additionally, for the most up-to-date information, CDC has started a What is New page – this includes the latest fact sheets and external communications materials on COVID-19.

For the most up-to-date information on the Coronavirus in Oregon, visit the Oregon Health Authority's Covid-19 Response website.



What is a coronavirus? What is COVID-19? 

Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that can infect humans and/or animals and cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to pneumonia and bronchitis. The coronavirus causing the current outbreak is a new virus that was not previously identified. 

The newly identified virus causes a disease called ‘coronavirus disease 2019,' abbreviated as COVID-19. In COVID-19, ‘CO’ stands for ‘corona,’ ‘VI’ for ‘virus,’ and ‘D’ for disease.


What are the symptoms of COVID-19?

Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Symptoms range from mild to severe and appear within two to 14 days after being infected with the virus.  


How do symptoms of COVID-19 compare to the flu?

Influenza (the flu) is still circulating in Oregon, according to the Oregon Health Authority. Since the flu can also cause cough and fever, the only way to tell which virus is causing these symptoms is through a laboratory test. 


How does COVID-19 spread? 

According to the CDC, the virus that causes COVID-19 is thought to be spread mainly from person-to-person. This transmission can occur when a person is in close contact (within about six feet) with someone who has the disease or if they inhale droplets from the coughs or sneezes of an infected person. 

People with COVID-19 are thought to be the most contagious when they show symptoms. The CDC notes that there have been reports of people spreading COVID-19 before they develop symptoms, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

It may also be possible to get the virus if you touch a surface or object with virus on it and then touch your mouth or nose, although this is not thought to be how the virus usually spreads. 


Is there a vaccine?

There is no vaccine currently available for COVID-19


What is the difference between isolation and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic?  

While the two terms are often used interchangeably in the media, quarantine technically means the temporary restriction of movement for someone who has been exposed to a pathogen but does not yet have symptoms. Isolation is employed when someone is symptomatic or reasonably believed to be infected. Isolation can occur at home or in a healthcare facility. 


What is social distancing?

Social distancing means keeping at least three feet of distance between yourself and others whenever possible. What social distancing looks like in practice is avoiding handshakes and hugs, sharing beverages and food, and keeping away from enclosed and crowded areas as much as possible. It also means that if you do hold an in-person meeting make sure the room is large enough to keep a three-foot distance — basically keeping a seat open — between people. Instead of meeting in-person, consider meeting remotely using one of the many options supported by the Office of Information Technology.


Instructor FAQs

How can I prevent uninvited guests from "Zoom-bombing" my class meetings?

  1. Follow the step-by-step guide below on changing your Zoom settings and configuring your meetings for added security.
  2. Attend a Zoom-In and learn more about specific techniques meeting facilitators can use to “crowd control”.
  3. Include a statement on digital citizenship in your syllabus, and reference the Student Code of Conduct and PSU Acceptable Use Policies in that statement
  4. Immediately report any and all suspicious behavior that occurs in your Zoom meetings to OAI.
  5. If you need help setting up your meeting, or have questions about how to configure your settings, OAI is here to help!


I want to offer Pass/No Pass as a grading option for my course, what do I need to do?

The Office of the Registrar has developed a comprehensive guide to offering Pass/No Pass option in your class. You can access the guide here.


What resources are available to help with class instruction? 

  • The Office of Academic Innovation has compiled resources for instructors and departments to use in their planning for academic continuity.
  • If you have teaching-with-technology questions, you can use this form to contact the Office of Academic Innovation directly. 
  • The Disability Resource Center (DRC) can assist students with access and accommodations and work with instructors to develop an accessible and inclusive environment.
  • The Office of Information Technology offers support on a range of technology - including remote connection options.


Can I take my desktop computer home to use for remote teaching/work? 

Due to the public health emergency, this is allowed. Before taking equipment home, check with your departmental technology support person to make sure that the machine will work off-campus. In some cases, departments may have alternate equipment available. 


What should I do if one of my students or colleagues expresses discomfort interacting with someone who is from China? 

We want to remind everyone that a person’s ethnicity, language or association with a country or region is not a risk factor for this virus. Stigmatizing certain groups based on rumors, false information and discrimination creates unnecessary fear and anxiety, hurting the whole community. In times of fear, we urge common sense and respect. In times of unknowns, we urge people to spread facts, not fear.


A student let me know they are concerned they might have been exposed to coronavirus, what should I do? 

Students should contact SHAC's Nurse Line at 503.725.2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844.224.3145. Even students who do not have PSU health insurance can contact the nurse line to discuss their situation. 


I have a Community Based Learning course / CO-OP /  Experience Based / Field Teaching course, what are the options for adjusting to the social distancing requirements?

Remember this quick switch in teaching and learning is likely uncharted territory for us all, including your students and community partners.  High quality community based learning isn't about logging a certain number of hours, it is about being responsive to community partner needs. Perhaps at this time, the ultimate way to be engaged in the community is in ways that are grass-roots and emerging as the situation unfolds. The Office of Academic Innovation has an evolving resource page to help.


Where do I go if I have questions about academic continuity? 


FAQs for Students

Can I choose Pass/No Pass as an option for a course grade?

The Office of the Registrar has developed a comprehensive guide that will help you determine whether you want to pursue the Pass/No Pass option for a course grade. You can access the guide here.


Does remote mean that we need to be online at a certain time for class? 

That will depend on the instructor. Some may set up synchronous course delivery (instructor and students connecting at the same time) or may set up asynchronous (not connecting at the same time), or a combination of the two. Please contact the instructor for their specific approach. 


What is the difference between an online class and a remote class?

  • Online courses are intentionally designed for complete digital interaction, at a distance. These courses were designed and facilitated according to evidence-based practices for online teaching and learning. They were advertised in the PSU Schedule of Classes as being fully online, and they continue to be offered as planned without modification and will be charged the regular Online Fee. The online fee at PSU is used to support the purposeful design of online programs and courses, and the delivery of online student services including library, advising, learning center, and IT helpdesk.
  • Remote courses use a strategy of moving content designed for face-to-face instruction to a digital format for limited or one-time-only course instruction, as in our response to the COVID-19 disruption. No remote fees are added to these remote courses.


I don't have a laptop at home, what are my options?

PSU users can check out Windows laptops or Chromebooks for the entire Spring term at the Library Circulation Desk on the first floor. Additionally, some departments have their own laptop loaner programs, so check with your department. Here is a link to the laptop lending program with up to date information:


I don't have wifi at home, but need to connect for spring classes. What are my options?

The Library first floor and computer labs will be available for students. 


I understand OIT has developed a new Virtual Computer Lab for students. Where can I learn more and log on?

The Office of Information Technology has released the "Beta" version of a new virtual computer lab (VLAB) for students. By using VLAB, students can remotely access a selection of academic software applications with their own personal devices, including laptops.

With this new platform, we aim to:

  • Provide a fun and easy-to-use virtual computer lab environment
  • Increase access to academic software applications
  • Help students successfully complete their courses by removing physical and financial barriers

Log in now at For more information visit the Virtual Computer Lab Help Center article.f


Will I be charged a fee for the classes that will be delivered remotely? 

No. Classes that were designed and identified as online classes have an online fee. Classes that are having to make temporary modifications to deliver class material remotely due to the coronavirus will not have that fee. 


I rented my books for winter term. How can I return them if I don’t come to campus?

All students who rented textbooks from the PSU Bookstore can print a return shipping label from the link provided in their rental reminder email sent on 3/09/20.  You should check your SPAM folders if you don't see it in the inbox, the subject line is "Your rental check-in date is approaching". The next automated email won't go out until 3/20.


I keep hearing that when spring break starts, all classes will be taught remotely. What will a remote class look like? 

While every class might look a little differently, PSU's Office of Information Technology has put together a Student Guide to Learning Remotely that includes all the tools that will be available to students and teachers. This quick reference guide is a great place to to understand what a remote learning experience will be like.


I don’t have my books for spring term yet, how can I get them?

To support student success in the rapidly approaching Spring quarter the PSU Bookstore has posted a free shipping offer on their website, with no minimum purchase, to facilitate timely access to textbooks and course materials that minimizes unnecessary exposure to large crowds, such as back-to-school lines at the store. 


I’m a student employed on campus, will I still be able to work?

Campus services are open and departments are encouraged to look for ways to maintain student employment. Please work directly with your supervisor for options. 


I usually visit the Registrar / Financial Aid / Advising in person, but I don’t want to do that now. How can I access campus services? 

Campus services are providing expanded offerings online and remote, like options to call and speak with someone over the phone, real time chat, virtual meetings, and have your questions answered over email. Many offices will still be available to meet in-person as necessary, but check their websites or call ahead as hours may change. 


I feel that because of a disability or accessibility barrier, I may not do well in classes that are held remotely and not face-to-face. What are my options? 

Contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) to discuss your concerns. They can be reached at 503-725-4150 or The DRC will work with you and/or your faculty to provide support.


For Students with Children

The office of Services for Students with Children has met with the childcare directors on campus, as well as with SHAC and Student Affairs administration.  We are carefully considering the health and safety of our children and student staff, the guidance from Governor Brown's office and PSU, and what we're able to reasonably provide with our limited resources.  

  • Little and Baby Vikings is temporarily consolidating to one center, as of 3/17/20.  If you have a reservation for childcare, please drop your children off at Little Vikings in Epler Hall at 1136 SW Montgomery Street, Suite 101. 
  • Hours for Little and Baby Vikings will be limited to 7:45am to 5pm.
  • Smith Memorial Student Union is accessible by badge access only.  Bring your PSU ID! Smith is open 8am to 5pm.
  • Then, Little and Baby Vikings will close during spring break, for the week of 3/23/20.  Closing will allow us to clean our centers and allow staff who are not able or don't feel comfortable working to stay home.

Additional and Important Information re: Little and Baby Vikings:

  • If you have an existing reservation for childcare for the week of 3/16 and we remain open, your reservation will be honored.
  • If you have an existing reservation for the week of 3/16, and do not plan to use it, please email, so that we can staff accordingly.  Families will not be charged for late cancellations made through 3/27/20, but we need you to let us know if your child will not be attending.
  • If you want to make a new reservation for childcare for the week of 3/16, click this link to request a new a reservation.  Space may be limited and our staff will get back to you to confirm your reservation or to let you know that space is not available.
  • If you have an existing reservation for the week of 3/23, Little and Baby Vikings will now be closed that week so we will cancel your reservation and you will not be charged.
  • Again, keep in mind that this could change at any time if PSU or the Office of Childcare provide us with new directives.  We will let you know as soon as we have more information.

Information regarding the RCSC and Family and Lactation Rooms:

  • The Resource Center for Students with Children, our family rooms, and our lactation spaces will remain open, as usual, during the week of 3/16/20.  This could change at any time and we'll let you know if it does change.
  • Please follow social distancing and other health guidelines as outlined by President Percy if you use any of these shared spaces.  

Information regarding Spring Break: 

  • During Spring break week, the RCSC will be closed, as planned, for office reorganization.
  • Please visit for a frequently-updated list of hardship resources, like where to get free food, financial assistance, and free activities for kids. 

Information regarding Spring Term: 

  • As of today, if you have an existing reservation at Little and Baby Vikings for spring term, and we remain open, you reservation will be honored. This could change at any time and we'll let you know if it does.
  • We plan on the RCSC office, family rooms, and lactation spaces to also be open as usual for spring term.  However, this is truly a minute-by-minute situation and that could change.  Stay tuned.


For Veterans

On March 21, 2020, the President signed Senate Bill 3503 into law, which gives the federal VA the
authority to continue GI Bill payments, including the Basic Housing Allowance, uninterrupted in the event of an emergency or health related situation. This means that PSU’s temporary remote courses will be certified as residence credit. Courses that were initially designated as fully online will continue to be certified as distance credit.


Where can I get more information?

For more information and updates about COVID-19, visit the CDC and Oregon Health Authority webpages. 

PSU will continue to keep the campus community informed as developments change via email messages and updates to this page.  

Specific questions related to coronavirus and PSU’s response can be submitted via email at 


Health and Wellness

Will PSU tell us if there is a Coronavirus case on campus? 

Yes. When a test confirms a coronavirus case anywhere within the PSU community, we will notify the campus as soon as possible. We will get that information from Multnomah County Health Department, which will also be in communication with the person who was tested and those close to that person. 


Should I buy a facemask?

Here are the CDC’s recommendations for using a facemask:

  • CDC does not recommend that healthy people wear a facemask to protect themselves from COVID-19.
  • People who show symptoms of COVID-19 should wear facemasks to help prevent the spread of the disease to others.
  • The use of facemasks is also crucial for health workers and people who are taking care of someone in close settings (at home or in a health care facility).


What should I do if there is a student in my class who seems sick?

If you notice a student is not well during class, find a time to approach the student in private. Express your concern for their health, offer arrangements to get materials outside of class, and suggest they call or visit SHAC. If you are a faculty member, you should know that observations of a student's behavior are not protected by FERPA and you can contact SHAC directly. SHAC's Nurse Line: 503.725.2515. SHAC’s 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours): 844.224.3145.


What should I do if I have symptoms of COVID-19?

Students who have respiratory symptoms or fever should stay home and contact PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC)'s Nurse Line at 503-725-2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844-224-3145. Also, reschedule any SHAC Counseling or Dental Services appointments that you have in the next 30 days.

Faculty and staff with respiratory symptoms or fever should stay home and contact their health care provider or local county health department:

  • Multnomah County Public Health: 503-988-3406
  • Clackamas County Public Health: 503-655-8411
  • Clark County Public Health: 564-397-8182
  • Washington County Public Health: 503-846-3594

Managers and supervisors should be flexible when employees are sick and need to stay home. Faculty should also be flexible with their students who need to stay home in the event of illness. Faculty with questions should contact  

Read the CDC’s suggestions for what to do if you are sick with COVID-19. 


I think I may have been in contact with someone who has Covid-19, should I be worried?

While it is impossible to assess the risk of every contact you might have in a typical day, the biggest risk comes from prolonged exposure (10 minutes) in close proximity, to someone who is ill.  There is some level of risk wherever we are in public: the grocery store, restaurants, etc. because we don’t always know if someone is contagious. The best we can do is practice good hygiene, social distancing and other prevention measures. 


I think I have been exposed and I have someone at home who is medically compromised  or at risk if they get Covid-19. 

Consult a health care professional to assess the risk.  Take standard precautions to protect that person in your household:  don’t share utensils, clean surfaces regularly, and limit close sustained contact.


Does PSU’s Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) currently have testing supplies for COVID-19?

Currently SHAC Health Services does not have any preliminary test kits. The test kits are in limited supply and have been reserved by Multnomah County for persons under investigation with significant exposure, fever and respiratory symptoms. 


Covid - 19 information translated into languages other than English.

COVID-19 information is available in translation. Multnomah County has information in the following languages: Spanish, Russian, Chinese, Somali, Vietnamese, Korean, Arabic, French, Japanese, Nepali, Swahili, and Karen.


Mail and Package Services

Will mail and package service be provided to departments?

Service will be provided M/W/F only to the few departments on campus whose offices are open. Mail/packages for all other departments will be kept in the PSU Mailroom until departments re-open. If a department needs their mail/packages before then, they may contact 503-725-4922 or  to set up a time to pick it up, or for the material to be delivered. Outgoing mail from departments whose office is not open, may be picked up by appointment or dropped off at the mailroom M-F between 9am and 3pm. UPS and FedEx have been asked to deliver all packages addressed to PSU buildings, other than to SHAC, to the PSU mailroom. 


On-Campus Residents

What is the current information for on-campus residents?

The main housing office is currently closed.  They are available via email at During their business hours of 9:00am - 5:00pm Monday through Friday, you can expect a response to most email inquiries within one hour.  Please do not call the Montgomery Service Desk with housing-related inquiries.

Read up-to-date information for on campus residents:


What if I live on campus and test positive for COVID-19.

If you are tested and do find that you have COVID-19, we would urge you to try to go home to quarantine/isolate yourself there.

For residents who are absolutely unable to go home, we will move you to our quarantine/isolation location and you will remain in that room until your symptoms pass.  You will not be able to leave your room and you can have no visitors except for anyone providing your care, food, or other supplies. SHAC will provide ongoing care to the quarantined or isolated student and consultation regarding length of quarantine.

We will provide delivered food, linens, and trash service for those who have to be moved and quarantined/isolated.

Again, it would most likely be more beneficial for you to go home if this situation arises.  But if you can’t, we are committed to taking care of you in the hall while protecting those around you.


What if my roommate seems to have symptoms

If you are healthy but your roommate seems to be exhibiting symptoms, please also call the SHAC Nurse Line with coronavirus related questions or concerns at 503.725.2515 or the 24/7 Nurse Advice Line (after hours) at 844.224.3145. They will be able to advise you on what you can do to best protect yourself from any viruses.  You can also connect with your hall staff.

If your roommate does have COVID-19, they will be moved to a room to be quarantined/isolated.  You will either stay in your own room or be moved so you can quarantine yourself for a certain number of days to be sure you don’t also exhibit symptoms.  If necessary, you would receive the same kind of support that would allow you to not leave your room.


What if a resident on my floor has COVID-19 and is quarantined/isolated?

The Oregon Health Authority advised us that there is no risk to individuals on the same floor as a quarantined/isolated person. The quarantined/isolated person is in a self-contained room with bathroom and kitchen and will not come out of the room until symptoms pass.


Hall Programs and Events

In keeping with PSU’s guidance, and as a way to reduce the potential spread of coronavirus we urge the campus community to keep in-person gatherings to a minimum whenever possible. We take this guidance seriously and have  cancelled upcoming hall programs until public health recommendations change.



Victors Dining Room is open and has moved to providing "to go" meals only.  PSU Eats has exceeded standard food hygiene rules and implemented additional precautions by changing out serving utensils on a more frequent basis. All food you would normally serve yourself will be provided "to go" by a PSU Eats employee.  We still want you to know that the most important thing you can do is practice good personal hygiene and wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before and after eating.


Parking and Transportation

Can I get a refund if I return my Transit Pass?

If you will not need your Employee Viking Pass while closures are in effect, please follow this link to fill out a refund request form. When your request has been processed we will send you an email confirmation. When operations resume on campus, you can reactivate your Viking Pass. 

If you would like to keep your pass, great! Transit service remains active and you will not need to worry about transportation when you return.



What can I do to prevent catching the virus?

According to the CDC, these are the best ways to prevent catching the virus that causes COVID-19:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing. Watch this video for best handwashing practices. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol. 
  • It's not too late to get a flu shot if you haven't. Flu season lasts until spring and while the flu shot isn't effective against COVID-19, it's still an excellent way to avoid getting sick with the flu.  


PSU Foundation

How is the PSU Foundation operating during the Covid-19 pandemic?

Foundation services can still be accessed online. For questions concerning PSU Foundation processes, please email


Research FAQs

How can I do my research if PSU is closed?

We are asking all researchers to develop a plan for operations that minimizes the need for people to be on campus and maximizes the ability for people to work remotely. Please develop this plan and share it with your department chair or center director. It is important that faculty within and between departments work together to ensure safety in our research laboratories under conditions of significantly reduced staff. 


I can only do my research in my lab and PSU is closed, what should I do?

For those who are unable to divert their research efforts to alternative activities and have research activities that can only be carried out on campus, these activities will have to be placed on hold. In those rare instances where putting these research activities on hold is not possible (as opposed to not desirable) due to compliance or safety issues, PIs, with the support of their chair, and the dean of their college or institute director, may make requests for a variance. In this request, the dean or director must make the case for why this research is an essential activity and must continue, identify the personnel who will be on campus for these activities, present a plan for operations and minimizing impacts on essential personnel on campus, and a timeline. RGS will work directly with deans, directors, and department chairs to evaluate these requests.


What is the University's advice for those faculty doing Laboratory-based research?

  • Do not start any new experiments.
  • Complete all ongoing experiments and put all equipment and instrumentation into a safe condition.
  • If you have an ongoing experiment that is of key importance to continue, you may complete that experiment as long as it can be completed safely and while practicing social distancing recommendations.
  • If possible, freeze or store cell lines or microbial cultures for long-term storage.
  • If you have laboratory animals or plants to care for, please reduce your operations to the minimum size and effort needed.
  • Please minimize the number of people and on-site work hours needed to maintain compliance with federal regulations.
  • If you have laboratory animals, please report your plan for maintaining compliance to
  • New animal care protocols will be accepted for review, but protocol approval will be contingent on a return to normal operations.
  • Take appropriate action to ensure data security if working remotely
  • Only order supplies that are absolutely necessary - it is highly likely that delivery of supplies will be delayed


What is the University's advice for those faculty doing Field-based research?

  • Fieldwork in natural areas outside of urban centers is acceptable, if practicing recommendations for social distancing.
  • Animal field study activities may continue, but investigators must develop and submit a plan for continuing this work safely, adhering to animal welfare requirements, and following recommendations for social distancing. 
  • Community-based work that requires in-person interactions must cease immediately.


What is the University's advice for those faculty doing Human-subjects research?

  • All in-person human subjects research must be suspended immediately.
  • Research that uses remote technology may continue.
  • If you would like to amend an existing IRB protocol to utilize remote technology for interactions, you will need to complete and submit a protocol amendment request form. Approval must be secured before implementation.    
  • The Human Research Protection Program (HRPP) will continue to accept and review new protocol submissions; however, approvals will only be issued if they utilize methodologies that do not require in-person interaction, e.g. remote/virtual data collection methods.
  • HRPP staff working remotely are available to answer questions and support investigators who have questions about existing or planned human subjects research. For answers to your questions, contact

Will Sponsored Projects Administration continue to support researchers during the pandemic?

  • SPA staff continue to work and support proposal submissions and awards management
  • If sponsored project work requires on-campus activities that cannot be conducted during the period of time that PSU is limiting on campus activities, send an email to and a member of the SPA leadership team will connect with you regarding how to address the situation given the specific terms of your award(s) and communicate with the sponsor as necessary.
  • We continue to monitor updates from funding agencies on how to manage unavoidable issues resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic. These updates are listed on the Research Administration google site along with guidance regarding allowable charges to sponsored projects during this time.


Does Research and Graduate Studies have alternative work options for research staff?

  • Focus on writing papers, reviews, and funding proposals.
  • Analyze data remotely or where appropriate on home computers 
  • Assign your research staff to assist with writing papers or document protocols
  • Participate in webinars or other online professional development activities
  • Assign GRAs grant-related work that can be accomplished remotely
  • Hone your teleconferencing skills.


Travel and Study Abroad

What is PSU’s current travel restriction?

As of March 11, PSU has suspended all non-essential travel.  We understand that there may be requests for l travel - and as such, supervisors should determine if any planned travel falls into the definition of “essential” based on the individual situation. Essential travel is only travel that is absolutely necessary or required.  We encourage leveraging the use of technology in lieu of in-person meetings or gatherings.


Does this apply to travel within Oregon or the Portland Metropolitan Area?

We know that for many employees local travel is an essential part of their job. Typically, short-duration travel in the Portland Metro by private vehicle when social distancing is possible is allowed.  


What about studying abroad?

The Education Abroad office has already canceled programs in CDC level 3 countries and in conjunction with the current PSU travel restriction, has canceled all spring term overseas programs.  


Advice to faculty, staff, and students traveling during spring break?

We strongly advise you to take all the precautions noted earlier about general handwashing guidelines, staying away from crowds, and practicing social distancing as well.  Remember, it is everyone’s responsibility to mitigate any infection possibilities as you are able during a health crisis. PSU advises no international travel to any CDC level 3 country - if you do, please be responsible and follow the CDC guidelines and self-quarantine yourself for 14 days upon return.  


I have a research grant that requires me to travel - what should I do?

We recommend that you check in with the Research and Graduate Studies office to determine if your grantor has updated their policies under this health crisis.  Should travel still be required and deemed “essential”, please practice all the precautions associated with the current situation.


I have already made travel arrangements for work travel before the change in travel policy.  What should I do?

Please contact the PSU travel agency you used to book your airfare and cancel the flight.  If you’ve made any hotel arrangements, please contact the hotel directly and cancel your stay.  We have seen a number of conferences already cancelled due to the COVID-19 outbreak, we suspect many more professional conferences to be canceled as well, so any travel plans for conferences should be canceled until further notice.


Due to the PSU travel restriction / due to a cancelled event, I need to cancel my airline ticket, which I purchased myself and is non-refundable. Will the University reimburse me for ticket cost and/or change fee?

For this temporary period, PSU will allow departments to decide whether they will refund travelers for airfare purchased with personal credit cards. We suggest working with the airlines to try and receive future travel credit(s) that should be applied, ONLY, to another University activity. Documentation of event cancellation is required to be submitted through Viking Travel, as well as proof of payment. Please remember that all University Staff are encouraged to use the University's 3rd party booking agencies for business related travel.


University Operations

How does PSU’s Sick Leave Policy apply to the current COVID-19 outbreak?

Absences from work related to the current COVID-19 outbreak may qualify for PSU sick leave usage for a number of different reasons including illness of yourself or other family members, but also for other public health reasons. Find more specific information on the Human Resources website.


If I need to self-quarantine due to contact with someone who has COVID-19, but I am not ill, do I need to use sick leave? 

If you can and do work remotely, then you do not need to use sick leave. If you are not ill but cannot work from home due to the nature of your work, then you should use sick leave. Additionally, folks should contact HR if they have any questions or concerns about their specific circumstance (


What is PSU doing related to cleaning and sanitization?

PSU's custodial teams are putting extra focus on cleaning "high touch surfaces" such as light switches, door knobs and handles, remote controls, bathroom door handles - entry and stall doors, toilet handles, dispenser handles, elevator buttons, intercom and entry system buttons. PSU facilities teams are assessing methods for large scale cleaning and sanitization, as possible.


Can a department spend general funds on hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, etc?

Yes, during this time a department may spend general funds on these types of supplies.


What happens when wall-mounted hand sanitzer stations are empty?

PSU facilities staff is actively monitoring all of the public hand sanitizer stations, but there is a national shortage of refill packs for these units. We are working to get refills as soon as they are avialable, but there is no shortage of handsoap. We encourage everyone to wash their hands thoroughly with soap and water on a regular basis as the best way to stay healthy. 


The restroom is out of paper towels and/or out of soap, who do I notify?

If you find a restroom needs to be restocked, please contact the Facilities Work Control Center (725-2349) or submit a request online.


If there is a case of COVID-19 on campus, will the buildings where the person was be closed?

Based on what we know how the COVID-19 virus is transmitted and how long it can live on surfaces, there is no need to close a building just because someone with the virus was there. PSU has implemented additional cleaning protocols for "high touch" areas such as door handles and elevator buttons. Following the identification of a COVID-19 case, PSU would seek direction from Multnomah County about additional cleaning measures.


What can I do if I experience or witness an act of bias or discrimination on campus based on unfounded assumptions about race and coronavirus? 

The coronavirus outbreak does not discriminate and people from all backgrounds may be carriers of the virus. It is imperative that the campus community continues to embrace our values of diversity and inclusion as we navigate evolving developments related to COVID-19. Please be mindful not to make assumptions or comments about people based on their national origin, race, color or any other identities. Asking questions about someone’s health based on your perception of their race or national origin would be considered discriminatory. If you experience or someone you know experiences a bias incident, you may report it to the Bias Review Team or if you believe someone has discriminated against you, you may file a complaint with Equity and Compliance. The Bias Review Team, convened by PSU Global Diversity and Inclusion, is actively monitoring these reports and working with organizations across campus to make sure our coronavirus response is well informed and nondiscriminatory.


Working Remotely

I want to practice social distancing by working from home. What steps do I take? 

First, talk to your supervisor. Managers are encouraged to accommodate remote work when possible. Employees should coordinate with their supervisor to determine if they are able to work remotely and make suitable arrangements. Human Resources streamlined the Remote Work Agreement approval process for employees who can do all or part of their jobs from home. 


What tools are available to support employees who work from home? 

PSU’s Office of Information Technology has collected a variety of tools for remote work on this site. In addition, the Office of Academic Innovation has a variety of toolkits for remote teaching/work.  

The Environmental Health and Safety team put together an ergonomic slide presentation for issues impacting remote employees. Access this tool here.


What tools are available to support managers and supervisors as they or their employees work remotely? 

Managing your team in a remote environment takes different techniques to be successful. To aid you in this transition, we are passing along OIT's helpful 'Guide to Working Remote' based, in part, on Claire Lew's A Guide to Managing Remote Teams for Managers (available for free online). HR associates stand ready to provide additional support and answers should you have additional questions. Please reach out to us at


What Human Resource policies apply during this unusual situation?

Human Resources has a coronavirus resource page that lists the various policies, procedures, and guidance that may relate to coronavirus situations ( If you have any questions, please reach out to HR


How do leave benefits (sick leave, FMLA/OFLA, etc) apply if I cannot work, am caring for a family member, or become ill?

During the COVID-19 pandemic there are many leave programs that may be available to you as
a PSU employee depending on your specific circumstances including your employee group,
benefits elections and personal context. (

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